Assembled in front of the very altar where their marriage vows were first spoken, more than 20 couples rededicated their love for one another in front of parishioners at Incarnation Church, Queens Village, on World Marriage Day, Sunday, Feb.12.
Couples who received the sacrament of marriage at Incarnation were invited to return and celebrate all the years of their sacred unions. The years of wedded bliss that were blessed varied between 38 to just five months.
From Feb. 7 until St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, the Church observed National Marriage Week, a time to not only celebrate, but also reflect on the dignity of the institution of marriage.
The pastor of Incarnation asked those in the pews on a cold, rainy Sunday morning to even dissect the significance of the words exchanged between husband and wife on the day they said “I do.”
“What were those words that were uttered in this church five, 10, 15, 40 years ago?” asked Father John O’ Connor during his homily.
“Those were words that meant something. They meant something then, they mean something today and with the power of God to assist you. The words didn’t mean that you were perfect, the words meant that you were human and God has accompanied you throughout that journey.”
Faith, Dialogue, Teamwork
For Jim and Rosemarie Jauregui’s journey, they remembered every second of the day they tied the knot, recalling that it was the day of the ’79 Belmont Stakes when Coastal upset the Triple Crown contender Spectacular Bid. But it was more than luck as to what kept them strong for more than 37 years and four kids later. Their secret: faith, discussion and teamwork.
“We stayed strong in our faith and passed it onto our kids,” said Rosemarie, “they all grew up in the church.”
The Jaureguis traveled from Suffolk County to the parish where Rosemarie grew up, making the renewal of vows Mass at 10:30 a.m., which coincidentally was the same time the two celebrated their nuptials. Except on this occasion, the married couple could take their time after receiving the blessing.
“We were married by Father (Francis Xavier) Bintener and right after our wedding was a funeral,” said Jim, “and we were asked to ‘make it quick.’”
As a couple, it seems like they haven’t slowed down a bit.
After Mass, young newlyweds Arnold and Wendy Pryor enjoyed the reception at Msgr. Griffin Hall with the bride’s mother as they counted five months and two days since the two entered into holy matrimony. Even though they’ve been together since high school, they were only recently married in the church.
The mother of the bride, Ofelia Parrott, said she was happy her daughter and son-in-law were married in the Catholic Church.
“I told them, ‘Hey, you need a blessing,’ said Parrott, “I don’t want a beach, or in a park, I want it in the church.”
Before Wendy met her future husband, she regularly attended Incarnation School. For her, the sacrament of marriage was the second sacrament she could attribute to the parish.
“I also received Confirmation here,” said Pryor.
While the amount of couples that were married at Incarnation throughout its 90 years of existence dated back to when Mass was celebrated in the Bellaire Theater, it was Don Zirkel who could attest to the manifestation of God’s love.
Zirkel, the former editor of The Tablet, sat quietly in a pew, donning his Sunday best – a warm white turtleneck and charcoal peacoat. He also walked up to the front of the church with the other couples receiving a special blessing that day. Except what stood out from the crowd was that he approached the altar by himself. That’s because at 90 years old, he may be the parish’s oldest living groom.
He and his seven siblings were raised in Incarnation during the 1930s. His late bride, Marie Greene Zirkel, and all her seven siblings, pronounced their vows at Incarnation; the Greene, Bettex, Dauscher, Ryan, Martino, Frudden, O’Rourke and Zirkel families were active families in the church. It was at the monthly parish dances where most of the young adults met and fell in love.
“How appropriate that a parish history enables us to include the social events that help teach us to spread God’s love,” said Zirkel, “and to thank the grandparents whose hundreds of descendents continue to do so through four generations. We gather together to count the Lord’s blessings.”